Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

SERMONS.

VOL. V.

B

SERMON I.

PHARISAISM AND CHRISTIANITY : COMPARED AND SET FORTH IN A SERMON AT PAUL'S CROSS,

MAY 1, 1608.

TO THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,

AND MY VERY GOOD LORD,

THOMAS, LORD BISHOP OF LONDON,

JOSEPH HALL

WISHETH ALL GRACE AND HAPPINESS.

RIGHT REVEREND AND HONOURABLE: I KNOW there is store of Sermons extant: The pulpit scarce affordeth more than the press. I add to the number, and complain not : in all good things, abundance is an easy burden. . If the soul may feed itself with variety, both by the ear and by the eye, it hath no reason to find fault with choice. But if any weaker stomach, as in our bodily * Tables, shall fear to surfeit at the sight of too much, it is easy for that man to look off, and to confine his eyes to some few : who cannot much sooner abate to himself, than multiply to another? Let not his nice sullenness prejudice that delight and profit, which may arise to others

from this number. For me, I dare not be so envious, äs not to bless God for this plenty; and seriously to rejoice, that God's people may thus liberally feast themselves by both their senses. Neither know I for whether more: the sound of the word spoken pierceth more; the letter written endureth longer: the ear is taught more suddenly, more stirringly; the eye with leisure and continuance. According to my poor ability, I have desired to do good both ways; not so much fearing censures, as caring to edify. This little labour submissively offers itself to your Lordship, as justly yours: being both preached at your call, and, as it were, in your charge; and by one under the charge of your fatherly jurisdiction, who unfeignedly desires by all means to shew his true heart to God's Church, together with his humble thankfulness to your Lordship; and professeth still to continue

Your Lordship’s,
In all humble duty and observance,

JOSEPH HALL.

MATTHEW V, 20.

Ercept your rightcousness exceed the rightcousness of the Scribes and

Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The curious Doctors of the Jews had reduced all God's statutelaw to six hundred and thirteen precepts *; so many as there are days in the year, and menibers in the body. It was an honest, and which were strange, a Christian conceit of one of their Rabbins to that David abridges all to eleven in his Psalm xv. Isaiah to six, in his xxxiii. 15. Micah yet lower to three, in his vi, 8. Isaiah yet again to two, in his lvi. 1. Habakkuk to one, The just man shall live by faith. So ye see, the Law ends in the Gospel; and that Father said not amiss, “The Law is the Gospel foretold; and the Gospel is the Law fulfilled [.” These two are the freehold of a Christian: and what but they?

The Jews of these times perverted the Law, rejected the Gospel. Our Saviour therefore, that great Prophet of the World, as it was high time, clears the Law, delivers and settles the Gospel : well approving in both these, that he came not to consume, but to consummate the Law. Wherein, as Paul to his Corinths, 1 Cor. xvi. 9. he had a great door, but many adversaries: amongst these were the great Masters of Israel, (so our Saviour terms the Phari, sees §,) and their fellows, and yet their rivals, the Scribes; both so much harder to oppose, by how much their authority was greater.

Truth hath no room, till falsehood be removed: Our Savivur therefore, as behoved, first shews the falsehood of their glosses, and the hollowness of their profession; and, if both their life and doctrine be naught, what free part is there in them? And lo both of these so faulty, that Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I. WHAT WERE THE MEN? II, WHAT WAS THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS? III. WHAT WANTED IT? Follow me, I beseech you, in these three; and, if my discourse shall seem for a while more thorny and perplexed, remedy it with your attention,

1. Those things, which are out of the ken of sense or memory, must be fetched from story. The sect, or order whether, of the Pharisees ceased with the Temple: since that, no man reads of a Pharisee; and now is grown so far out of knowledge, that the modern Jews are more ready to learn of us who they were. There is no point, wherein it is more difficult to avoid variety, yea ostentation of reading. Without any curious traversing of opinions, I study for simple truth; as one that will not lead you out of the road-way, to shew you the turnings,

* Petr, Galatin. de arcan. fidei Cath, ad finem. Ex glos. Rab. Shelomoh. 1 Lex est Evangelium predictum: Evangelium Lex completa,

John iii. 10. Art thou a Master in Israel?

Seribes were ancient; Ezra is called 72 2010, A prompt Scribe; Ezra vii. 6. As long before him, so ever since they continued till Christ's time; but in two ranks: some were ypappcteīs acę; others, vóux: some, popular; others, legal: some, the people's; others, God's: the one Secretaries, Recorders, Notaries, as 2 Chron. xxiv. 11, 760 010, The King's Scribe; the other, Doctors of the Law of God: The Law of the Lord is with us, in vain made he it, the pen of the Scribe is in vain; Jer. viii. 8. As the Pharisees were, vouodidár%2101, Law-masters ; so these are the same, which, Luke xi. 45, are called, vouxoi, Interpreters of the Law. Though to some not mean critics, it seems these should be a third sort; which consider not, that our Saviour, on purpose addressing his speech to the Pharisees, fell by the way upon the Scribes; and, being admonished by one of them, as of an oversight, now avers right down of the Scribes, what before he had but indifferently glanced at. What they were *, is plain by Ezra's pulpit, Neh. viii. 4, and Moses's chair, Mat. xxiii. 2.

These and Pharisees differed not much: they agreed in some good, but in more evil. But the profession of Pharisees, because it is more obscure, you shall give me leave to fetch somewhat further.

There were, saith old Egesippus, as Eusebius † cites him, divers opinions in the Circumcision; which all crossed the tribe of Judah: Essens, Galileans, Emerobaptists, Masbutheans, Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees. It were easy to help him with more; Sabuæns, Cannæns, Sampsæans 1: and, if need were, yet more. Where are those waverers, that stagger in their trust to the Church, because of different opinions; receiving that rotten argument of profane Celsus & against the Christians? Say the Papists, “One saith I am Calvin's; another, I am Luther's." We disclaim, we defy these titles, these divisions: we are one in truth: would God we were yet more one! It is the lace and fringe of Christ's garment, that is questioned amongst us: the cloth is sound. But what? Was the Jewish Church before Christ, God's true Church, or not? If it were not, which was it? If it were: lo that here rent in more than eight parts, and one of them differing from itself in eighteen opinions ||; and yet, as Irenæus well observes, “Before Christ, there were neither so many heresies, nor so blasphemous.” Shew me a Church on earth without these wrinkles of division, and I will never seek for it in heaven.

Although to some, Pharisaism seems rather a several order, than a sect: but St. Luke, that knew it better, hath wiperi Qeepirców, The

Clerici Judæorum ; saith Jerome. + Euseb. Eccl. Hist. 1. iv. c. 22. Erant in circumcisione diversæ sententiæ, quæ maximè tribui Judæ adversabantur; &c.

| Vid. Jos. Scalig, resp. ad Serarium. § Orig. lib. v. advers. Cels. Chris. sianos non habere serani Religionem, quòd in varias sectas divisi essent. u Domus Sammai et Hillel. Ar. Mont. in Evang.

Anle adventum Christi, non tot et tam blasphemce hæreses. Iren. lib. v.

« ZurückWeiter »